In the past two posts, I shared that I never felt called to be a missionary, and how I came to a point of surrender at World Mandate West, 2016. Read about it here.
I want to share some more details of what was going in our lives at the time of the conference.
If you’ve been reading my blog you know that all I ever dreamed for my life was having a family, and a home. We had been looking to buy a house for months and it was a very stressful time, but so exciting that my dream was happening! When we went forward for the alter call, I was so confused about what it meant for us in terms of buying a house.
If I was saying yes to a possible life as a missionary, what was the point of buying a house? Should we withdraw the offers we already made? Should we stop looking? Should I just fully give up the hope of ever having a home to call my own? Was it wrong to desire one? Was God taking away my dream, just when He was finally giving it me?
I was asking God all of these questions when I felt the gentle nudging of the Spirit to just release it to the Father, and relax. So I did.
A few weeks later we found a house that we really loved. We were one of eighteen offers, and some of them were 100% cash, and higher than ours! We knew it was a long shot, but when we got the call that we did not get the house, I was so disappointed. In that very moment of sadness we decided to pray. I remember tearfully saying, “God, I bless your will.” That was all I could squeak out through my tears, but Brian continued to pray as I agreed beside him.
We did not beg him to miraculously give us the house; we simply worshiped Him, and thanked Him for His wisdom, knowing His will was best – regardless of our disappointment.
While we were praying, we got a voicemail from our realtor saying our offer was accepted! Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.
(When we met the owner, he told us he was about to accept the higher, cash only offer when he got sick to his stomach and just knew he had to go with ours instead. He made that decision at the exact time we were praying and worshiping.)
We got the house!!! We were elated, shocked, and so thankful.
We are in our final months here in our home. My heart is so sad at the thought of leaving it. There are many sacrifices that come with moving to South Africa, but this one really tugs on my heart. It tests my resolve to stay committed.
I had plans and hopes and ideas for this home. I pictured bringing our newborn babies from hospital to this home. I knew which room would be the playroom, and where I would put a swing set.
I have moved a lot in my life, 9 times in the past 5 years, and more when I was younger. When we bought this house I thought it meant I wouldn’t move for a while, that my life wouldn’t be uprooted again and again. I thought that I could be settled. I reveled in that [false] stability, while it lasted.
Nothing threatens stability and settledness like going on the mission field.
I remember telling a friend at church about us moving to S.A., and she looked so grief stricken. “You just bought a house!!! How could you leave it so soon? What does that feel like?”
Well, it doesn’t feel very good. But since when do feelings take precedence over obedience?
For us, obedience looks like this:
- We gave up a great job offer and decided to do the School of Transformation (read about it here). I knew that by rejecting that job and doing SOT together, we were most likely not going to be able to buy a house.
- Months later, we realized we could buy a house, even after turning down that job –which seemed like such a sweet gift from God, since we both released that dream when we chose to do SOT. It felt like He was honoring our obedience to Him.
- World Mandate West 2016, we fully gave our future to Him, including having a house.
- Two weeks later, our offer on the house we loved was rejected.
- Twenty minutes later, it was accepted.
- We bought a house!
- We move in.
- We finish SOT and go to South Africa on a mission trip.
- A few weeks later, and less than six months after buying our home, we were asked to leave it, and move to South Africa to help plant a church.
- In three months, we leave.
Living a life of faith is an adventure, to say the least!
I used to think if I surrendered my life to God, it meant giving up everything I wanted. When I laid down my desire for a home, I never ever dreamed that God would give it back to me.
And here I am, giving it back to Him. Because it was never really mine to begin with.
Following Jesus is not convenient, and sometimes, it is just downright hard. But He is always worth it.
Saying yes to Jesus, in the end, always leads to Joy. – Elisabeth Elliot